The Roscrea Pillar, Co. Tipperary.

Location – In the Blackmills Museum next to the round tower in Roscrea.
OS: S 136 895 (map 60)
Longitude: 7° 47' 51.41" W
Latitude: 52° 57' 22.17" N
See map at the bottom of the page.

Description and History – I have been trying to see this for years! The Archaeological Inventory for North Tipperary lists this as being on the outside wall of St. Cronan’s RC church nearby. Since the publication of that book it has been moved for safekeeping to this little museum. I walked around St. Cronan’s many times looking for something that was no longer there. Eventually I found out it had been moved but every time I visited the museum it was either closed for lunch or closed for winter. Now, the museum is only open on request so I went to the castle and put in my request and finally got inside to see it. I was not disappointed. Before it was moved here and before it was at St. Cronan’s it was at Timoney Park, SE of the town. It is likely to have been made at Monaincha Abbey but this is not certain. The purpose of the pillar is unknown. It is hollow and has one side missing as it may have been used as a trough for some time. This is not its original purpose. It may have been a relic box of some description, but the orientation of the carvings indicate that the long axis is vertical as opposed to the horizontal in most relic boxes. The box is carved with interlace patterns and animals including one which resembles an elephant. Considering this carving is dated to the 8th century it shows that there may have been contact between the Irish church and the church in Africa. This seems all the more likely after recent archaeological discoveries such as the Fadden More Psalter show that Irish monks did indeed travel to Africa and back or at least had close contact with them. The box measures about 1m high and 0.4 m wide. It seems bigger when you see it up close. There are also two cross-slabs in the museum from the church across the road.

Difficulty – Easy. You have to go to the castle to ask for the museum to be opened. The original high cross is also in this small museum.

For more ecclesiastical sites, click here.
For more sites in Co. Tipperary, click here.

The light was very bright in the museum and not great for taking photographs.

Geometric designs on the pillar.

The elephant design.

Horse design.

One of the cross slabs.

The other cross slab.

View The Standing Stone in a larger map